CHAPTER 24 – WATER

When the bucket was full of water, I said, “Leave it to me. It’s too heavy for you.”

Slowly I pulled up the bucket to the edge of the well and left it there. I was tired but happy. The song of the well was still in my ears. When I looked at the bucket, I could see the sun’s reflection in the water.

“I’m thirsty for that water,” said the little prince. “Let me drink some.”

And I understood what he was looking for. I raised the bucket to his lips. He drank with his eyes closed. It was as nice as some special celebration. That water was more than merely a drink. It was born of our walk under the stars, the song of the well, the effort of my arms. It was good for the heart, like a present.

When I was a little boy, the light of the Christmas tree, the music of the midnight mass, the love in the people’s smiles, all these things made the Christmas presents special.

“The people where you live,” said the little prince, “grow five thousand roses in one garden, yet they don’t find in it what they are looking for.”

“They don’t find it,” I replied.

“And yet what they are looking for could be found in a single rose or a little water.”

“Yes, that’s true,” I replied.

And the little prince added, “But the eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart.”

I finished drinking water. I could breathe well now. The sand at sunrise is the colour of honey. And that colour was making me happy, too. Why then did I also feel so sad?

“You must keep your promise,” said the little prince when he sat down beside me.

“What promise?”

“You know, a fence to protect my flower from my sheep. I am responsible for this flower.”

I took my drawings out of my pocket. The little prince looked at them, and he laughed when he saw the baobabs.

“Your baobabs look a little like cabbages.”

“Oh!”

I was so proud of my baobabs.

“Your fox, his ears, they look a little like horns, and they are too long!”

And he laughed again.

“You aren’t fair, little prince,” I said, “I didn’t know how to draw anything except snakes from the outside and snakes from the inside.”

“Oh, that’ll be alright,” he said, “children will understand.”

So then I drew a fence. And I gave it to him with a heavy heart.

“You have plans I don’t know about. Maybe something is ending here.”

But he didn’t answer me. He said to me, instead, “You must work now. You must go back to your plane. I’ll wait here. Come back tomorrow night.”

But I wasn’t sure about it. Again, I had a sense of sadness in my heart.

I remembered the fox. When we let ourselves be tamed, we risk tears when saying goodbye.


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